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Nobody Asked Me But…We Don't Need Armed Forces Service Medals

By Lieutenant Jeffrey T. Rees, U.S. Navy

Articles have appeared in professional journals, including Proceedings , recommending ways to keep generation "X" officers in active service. Many young officers are disillusioned by the post-Cold War role of the Navy and Marine Corps: leading men and women in operations other than war. We need vision, focus, and quality leadership at the highest levels, and must remain focused on warfighting. We will be better off with a smaller force—if it is highly trained, motivated, combat ready, and focused on our profession—war.

As for retaining generation "X": Our professional officer corps needs to be liberally educated. Officers should have to attend a war college before promotion to 0-5, and should focus more intently on the customs and traditions that foster the sense of belonging to a group not found in corporate America: a true "band of brothers." Finally, our senior leaders need the strength of conviction to stand up to powerful political leaders and say, "No Sir, we should not do that. We are spread too thin providing a forward presence, and we are kept too busy with our need to train for war."

What we really don't need is another medal—awarded for yet another military operation other than war.

Lieutenant Rees is a P-3 pilot and is assistant Strike Ops on the Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72). 



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